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Abbas welcomes Obama visit, looks to new U.S. policy in the region

Published: Updated:

The Palestinian presidency hopes U.S. President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit will mark the beginning of a new U.S. policy in the region, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

“President Mahmud Abbas welcomes the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Palestine,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency told AFP.

“We hope that President Obama’s visit to the region is the beginning of a new U.S. policy that will lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian lands occupied since 1967, in accordance with the international resolutions,” Abu Rudeina said from Cairo.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Obama would make his first visit as president to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan in the spring, after a visit planned by his Secretary of State John Kerry.

Both Israel and the Palestinians have theoretically committed themselves to the goal of a “two-state solution,” living side-by-side within agreed borders.

The Palestinians say they will not return to negotiations while Jewish settlement building continues in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel says it will not enter talks while the Palestinians lay down “pre-conditions.”